Germany to mark fall of Berlin Wall

19:15, November 09, 2009      

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Germans are to stage a number of celebrations later on Monday to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a symbol for the ending of the Cold War.

The celebrations include concerts boasting Beethoven and Bon Jovi, a memorial service for the 136 people killed trying to crossover the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989, candle lightings and toppling of 1,000 giant brightly colored dominoes along a 1.5 km (0.9 mile) stretch of the Berlin Wall from the Brandenburg Gate to the Potzdam Platz, once the best-known section of the Wall.

World leaders past and present are expected to join German crowds later in the day to participate in the celebrations, such as ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former Polish President Lech Walesa, who is expected to topple the first block of the dominos of the mini Berlin Wall later on the day.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are all due to attend the celebrations hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Thousands of tourists have poured into the capital to mark the event, local media reported.

Earlier on Oct. 31, a trio-gathering of Helmut Kohl, the German chancellor who presided over the opening of the wall, and the superpower presidents of the time, George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, was held in Berlin to mark the fall.

During the weekend, recollections of the fall of the Berlin Wall dominated German newspaper headlines at the weekend, and television channels ran program after program of documentary footage, eyewitness accounts and discussion panels about the event that changed the face of Europe.

The Berlin Wall was erected during the night between August 12-13 of 1961 to divide the Berlin city as well as East Germany and West Germany. The wall is the symbol of so-call Iron Curtain for the Cold War.

On Nov. 9, 1989, East Germany announced the easing of border controls, and thousands stormed the Berlin Wall and demanded its opening. The Wall was toppled down soon afterwards, and Germany was reunified the next year.

Source: Xinhua
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